Book Review – Plum Tea Crazy

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Plum Tea Crazy

Tea Shop Mystery #19

By Laura Childs

Berkley Prime Crime Hardcover

March 6, 2018

$26.00/US

Includes recipes

Received the book from the publisher for an honest review

 

While carefully navigating the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, Indigo Tea Shop owner and amateur sleuth, Theo Browning, and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley watch two-dozen tall ships in the harbor during the Gaslights and Galleons Parade. They are among other guests enjoying the event until fate strikes its deadly blow. Immediately after the cannons are fired, the unthinkable happens.

Banker Carson Lanier falls three stories to his death from the widow’s walk. Those present witness the horrible scene and run out of the mansion to see if the poor man is still alive. There was no way he could have survived impaled on a sharply pointed old fence. The movement of a curtain on the Stagwood Inn’s upper window has Theo and Drayton running next door to see if the person responsible for Carson’s death is still there. The quarrel from a pistol crossbow is still in Carson’s body so it was no accident. He was murdered. They aren’t the only ones to believe that the murder was committed from a distance. Detective Burt Tidwell of the Charleston Police Department’s Robbery and Homicide Division feels the same way.

Feeling guilty for inviting Carson, Timothy requests Theo’s assistance in finding out who wanted Carson dead. At the same time, Jud Harker is threatening the heritage society for sponsoring a historical weapon show and Delaine is planning a Silk Road Fashion Show. Carson’s nearly-ex wife, Sissy Lanier is steaming mad, but not over his death. His co-worker Betty only seems concerned about herself. There’s never a boring day in this historic town.

I’ve read a number of books in this series and never tire of them. Theo’s intuition and bravery are on target. Each characters’ personality has you knowing who they are just by their antics and attitudes. This is a very animated book. I don’t know how Theo plans themed tea parties and still finds time to solve crimes.

Plum Tea Crazy touches upon the history of weapons and both our interest and outrage. It slides into rumors and putting a price tag on marriage. I think focusing on weapons and how they ruin lives might have been an opportunity to parallel what’s going on in our lives now. Instead the author focused on another motive. All in all, the book was entertaining and keeps on giving us another chapter in Theo’s life.

Four scones with Devonshire cream out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

April 1, 2018

GWN’s TBR list for reviews:

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Q&A with Anna Lee Huber

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Whenever I’m asked to write a blog for the release of a new book, I always turn to my readers on social media to ask them if there are any questions they would like answered. As an author, it isn’t always easy to know what readers are most curious about. So I’m grateful for their input.

One reader queried: I have wondered if Lady Darby will use her artistic knowledge and talent in the future, related to a case or otherwise.

Those of you who read the series know that Lady Darby is a gifted portrait artist, and she’s used these skills in numerous ways in the past to help with investigations. And, yes, she will definitely continue to do so, whether it’s sketching possible suspects, or her keen artistic eye, or spotting something off in a potentially forged piece of artwork. As alluded to at the end of As Death Draws Near, she will also be painting a series of portraits based on the people she met in Ireland—The Faces of Ireland—with the goal to exhibit them and showcase their humanity. Readers will also recall her notoriety has made her portraits all the rage, so she will also continue to accept commissions, but only for subjects she’s interested in painting.

Another reader asked: I just would like to know how you come up with your plots, and also how you decided to let your readers get into Kiera’s head.

My plots have been inspired in a number of different ways. The plot for The Anatomist’s Wife emerged from the development of Kiera’s character and background, as well as the necessity for a mystery in an isolated setting. For Mortal Arts, the story actually started with a dream I had of the scene where Will is drawing on the walls and Kiera comes to sit beside him and help him. For A Grave Matter, I was inspired by a documentary I watched about how criminals planned to steal President Lincoln’s corpse and ransom it. For A Study in Death, it was the desire to pursue the topic of domestic violence in that period. For As Death Draws Near, I’d had the idea early on for Kiera to investigate the death of a nun, for it seemed feasible that in such a murder, a woman might be requested to view the body rather than a man. For the latest Lady Darby book, A Brush with Shadows, the plot was entirely inspired by the setting, as well as a desire to force Gage to return to his childhood home. I’d already established this manor stood at the edge of Dartmoor—a place I have visited and long wanted to set a book in. There is so much rich history and myth and mystery already surrounding that patch of England, so it was ripe with material.

As far as choosing to write in first person, inside Kiera’s head, I simply enjoy it. And I also think it adds a layer of suspense and uncertainty to a mystery, as well as immediacy.

A third reader asked: Will Gage inherit his father’s title? If he inherits his father’s title, then will Kiera be Lady Gage? Considering everything Gage has done for the Crown, will he receive his own title?

Yes, upon Lord Gage’s death, his son—Sebastian Gage—will inherit his title and become Baron Gage. And Kiera will become Lady Gage, a baroness, both by right and courtesy, as the title of baron is higher-ranked than her first husband (Sir Anthony), who was a baronet. As far as Gage receiving his own title from the Crown, only time will tell. No spoilers. Although, there are a number of factors against this happening—namely the fact that Gage will be inheriting a title eventually, and Lord Gage, who is good friends with the King, would likely be displeased to see his son ranked higher than or equal to him. But that doesn’t mean something extraordinary couldn’t happen. Readers will have to wait and see.

Another reader asked: How did you choose the names for your lady protagonists? I love the name Ella & am familiar with it, but Kiera &, especially, Verity, were new to me.

I am a bit idiosyncratic when it comes to names. It’s one of the first things I have to know about a character, and it MUST fit them in my mind, or I simply can’t move forward with them. I wrangle with names a lot. But fortunately, my main female protagonists seem to tell me their names rather quickly when they’re forming in my head. From what I can recall, and bizarre as it sounds, Kiera simply told me that was her name, and that was that. Verity (from my Verity Kent Mystery series) was slightly trickier. I wanted something a bit unique, so I started searching through name lists and stumbled across Verity, which means “truth.” Quite fitting for a mystery sleuth, huh? And her last name simply slid into place once I had her first name.

One final question: Your settings are often unique. How do you choose them?

Other than character, I would say setting is the element of my stories I enjoy crafting most. It’s something I’m drawn to, and I love exploring new places through fiction. Sometimes, I’m inspired by a picture. Sometimes, I happened to visit the site and connected with the place. Other times, a location pops up while I’m doing research and presents itself as the perfect setting for a mystery. I love London, but sometimes I get tired of seeing it used so often in 19th century mysteries, so I gravitate more toward Edinburgh and rural settings. That being said, Lady Darby Book 7 (out April 2019), is set in London, but only because a piece of 1831 history demanded Kiera be there. However, Book 8 will find Kiera and Gage venturing to some distinctive locale yet again.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Lee Huber is the RITA and Daphne awards–nominated author of the Lady Darby Mysteries, including A Grave Matter and Mortal Arts, among others. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She resides in Indiana with her family.

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Book Review – The Plot is Murder

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The Plot is Murder

By V.M. Burns

First in a new series: Mystery Bookshop

Kensington

248 pages, $15.00

Setting: North Beach, Michigan

Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Samantha Washington and her late husband, Leon, were avid mystery readers. While Samantha’s goal was to write a mystery, Leon wanted to open a bookstore. Cancer severed any opportunities Leon could ever dream of experiencing. Before he died, Samantha promised him that she’d purchase the brick brownstone they both adored and open a mystery bookstore.

Samantha sold their house, left her job as an English teacher, and purchased the old building. She also began writing the historical mystery she was eager to write. She and her toy poodles, Snickers and Oreo settled into the upstairs apartment, hoping to ease back into a normal life. Sam’s family is supportive, but their concern for her often invades her need for privacy.

Then just when she nearly has the bookstore ready to open, Clayton Parker, a shady realtor, comes knocking on Samantha’s door. Not wanting anything to do with him, she doesn’t let him in. The next morning, they find him dead on her property. She didn’t kill him, so who did? Detective Brad Pitt, not the actor, wanted to know the same thing. After the passing of guilt for not letting Clayton in subsided, fear moved in and she turned to writing the 1938 mystery to help calm her nerves and clear her mind.

The storyline presents Samantha trying to get to the truth of Clayton’s death, with the next scene often being the continuation of her manuscript. Some may feel this is distracting and disturbs the flow of the story. I felt it was a nice alternative to a regular storyline. Authors introduce flashbacks. Time travel moves from the past to the future or the future to the past. This book features a story-within-a-story. I see it as a creative challenge. You begin to wonder about the fictional characters and who is guilty of murder, just as much as you do Samantha’s investigation. Hoping her manuscript is published and that her fans will come to meet her. Wouldn’t that be great for her business?

I thought Samantha was brave not only risking her life but giving up her full-time job to start a new business. It’s difficult enough for a widow to move on.

I loved the brownstone. I could picture the old statues in the building and can imagine all the work that went into creating the bookstore. I also loved the cover.

Would have liked to have known more about Samantha’s life with Leon, her interests and more background. Would have given the detective another name and attitude. Loved Nana Jo and her friends and how they helped Samantha. They seemed to have more personality than the main character.

Three and a half brownstones out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

March 25, 2018

 

Guest Blog Post – New Culinary Capers Dinner Club Mystery Released

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Marinating in Murder, a Dinner Club Mystery by Linda Wiken, Berkley paperback, 289 pages, $7.99/US

By Linda Wiken

What do you think is the worst thing that can happen to a cop? I’ll tell you because one of my best friends is a cop and it’s happened to her.  Try finding the body of your soon-to-be ex in the back of your SUV! That’s Alison Manovich’s nightmare right now. I’ll tell you up front, she didn’t kill him. And I know that her fellow officers believe that too but they have to be seen as impartial throughout the investigation. So, she’s been suspended with pay and is under strict orders to twiddle her thumbs at home while the police search for the real murderer.

So that’s where we come in, my buds and me in the Culinary Capers Dinner Club. I’m J.J. Tanner and although Alison usually warns us to stay out of police business, and I have had more than my share of murders happen in my professional life, this time we can’t leave it to the cops. Who knows what their attempts at looking ‘above board’ will do to the investigation?  Besides, we have a proven track record – two murders, two killers caught. And of course, we always have had valid reasons for getting involved, beyond the fact that the murders happened at two events I planned as an event planner.

Thinking back, the first murder happened at the 2lst birthday celebration of the daughter of a local IT bigwig. It had an Italian theme and I’d hired an Italian caterer. Big mistake. Not the Italian part but the guy turned out to be a dud. And dead. You can read all about it in Toasting Up Trouble. The cops at first thought I’d make a good suspect because of a fight we’d had. A very loud one, it was. Well, you know how that spurs a gal into investigative mode.

The second murder, this one in Roux the Day, took place on a fundraising Casino Dinner Cruise and I again had to get involved when one of the emcee’s was killed. I’d hired her, after all, and her co-emcee, a member of the Culinary Capers Dinner Club, was the prime suspect.

Anyway, back to this case. You’d think things couldn’t get worse for Alison…but they do. Oh, man…they sure do.

I can’t go into more details right now but you can read all about it yourself because Marinating in Murder, the third in the Dinner Club Mysteries, has just been released.

Just remember, Alison didn’t do it. We all believe in her….do you?

 ABOUT LINDA WIKEN

Linda Wiken is the author of the national bestselling Ashton Corners mysteries under the pseudonym Erika Chase and is the former owner of a mystery bookstore.

 

Guest Blog Post – One Question for Three Sisters of the Olive Grove Mystery Series By Kelly Lane

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9780425277249Celebrating the 2018 release of DIPPED TO DEATH, the third book in the Olive Grove Mystery Series, I thought it would be fun to interview the three Knox sisters from the series.

First is Daphne. She’s the oldest. Svelte, fortysomething and a divorced mother of five, Daphne’s an entrepreneur, social butterfly, and Southern belle extraordinaire — ad nauseam!

Next is middle sister Pep. Petite and curvy, not to mention a bit outspoken and “outside the box” in her ways, our popular, high-spirited, Goth-loving barkeep has a knack for men, motors, and all-things mechanical.  Not to mention skulls, fishnet stockings, and leather.

And finally, youngest sibling Eva — brainy, athletic, and young-at-heart, this thirtysomething PR maven is also an anxiety-ridden insomniac who boasts a litany of broken relationships with men. And still, despite her reservations and protestations regarding the opposite sex, the men — good and bad — keep coming back for Eva.

So I asked the sisters, “if you could have a “do-over” in life, what would it be?”

DAPHNE: Do over? Gracious, me. Y’all needn’t be so silly. Why everything in my life has been ab-so-lute-ly perfect.

EVA: Daph, you and your ex went through the most public, antagonistic, sensational divorce in Georgia history. Considering all the spiteful stuff he said about you, how could you not be mortified? Public disgrace qualifies for a do-over, right Pep?

PEP: Righto, sis.

DAPHNE: Ah well, Eva. <flaps hand dismissively>  That’s what I get for foolishly marrying a philandering pro-ball player. Of course, Big Boomer was vicious during the divorce because I caught him with his hand in the cookie jar. His tabloid rants just made the judge more sympathetic to me. The humiliation I endured was worth it for the payout. Still, Eva, you’re hardly the one to throw stones at someone for making a public spectacle. Talk about airing dirty laundry in public. <sips olive leaf tea> You, my dear Eva, are the Queen of Public Spectacles.

EVA: Agreed. I’ve mortified myself to the hundredth power. Honestly, I can think of a lifetime of “do overs.” <groans>

PEP: Shall I start naming them? Zack Black, Dex Codman …

EVA: Stop, Pep. Don’t remind me.

DAPHNE: Well, in my case, the notoriety is small potatoes compared to the five angelic children I now have, courtesy of their father, Big Boomer.

PEP: With a name like “Big Boomer” you should’ve expected a fiasco.

DAPHNE: Well, our marriage certainly ended up being a fiasco for him. <titters> He paid dearly for his dalliances, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle for me and the children … forever. Plus, he provided me with the capital for my many burgeoning businesses.

PEP: Burgeoning businesses? Daphne, who talks like that?

DAPHNE: An erudite, sophisticated woman of the world. <sniffs indignantly> Back to the original question. Do overs? Regrets? Me? Never. I’m pleased as punch with my life. And, y’all know that I can get a new man any time I desire one. I’ve not yet reached my sexual peak I’m sure. And just in case y’all didn’t know it, I’m quite satisfied now.

EVA: Pep, Daph’s been reading Kitty Kipple books.

PEP: Oh yeah? The seamy sex stories based on fairytales and nursery rhymes? Talk about living in a fantasy world! <snorts>

DAPHNE: Oh puh-leese, Pepper Leigh. The stories are quite … creative. Eva, dear, you might try reading one or two. Maybe you’d be inspired to find yourself a man.

EVA: <laughs> Thanks but no thanks, Daph. I’m good.

PEP: Right. We’re both good.

DAPHNE: Really? From where I’m settin’, it looks like there’s plenty y’all should like to “do over.” Shall we start with that deadbeat husband of yours, Pepper-Leigh? Where is he these days? Has he run off again?

PEP: Okay. I’ll give you that one, Daph, Mind y’all, I’m not normally a person with regrets. However, I do wish I’d never laid eyes on Billy. He spent all our money — my money — drinking and gambling. Then he totally humiliated me …

DAPHNE: Running around with that tart in town.

PEP: Yes, well, her too.

DAPHNE: He could’ve at least been discreet.

PEP: She can have him. Y’all know the saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No ifs ands or buts … Billy is my “do over.”

DAPHNE: Is that it?

PEP: What d’ya mean, “is that it?”

DAPHNE: Well, I was hoping you might want to “do over” those frightful black clothes you wear. <shudders>  And that purple lipstick.

EVA: Spoken like a true diva.

PEP: Ha! <kisses sister Daphne on the cheek, leaving perfect purple lip marks>

DAPHNE: Pepper-Leigh! <scowls, takes out white hankie and wipes cheek> And while we’re on the subject, you could use a few fashion “do overs” yourself, Eva.

EVA: Omigosh. <slaps hand on forehead> If it will end this ridiculous ”do over” conversation, I’ll concede: I wish I’d never dated nearly every man I’ve ever dated.

PEP: Except Buck, of course …

EVA: Stop!

PEP: Well, you did say “nearly every man.”

DAPHNE: All I’m saying is that I wish you could find yourself a nice fellow, Eva. Someone with money. And pedigree.

PEP: <snorts> Like Ian Collier, next door?

DAHNE: Exactly. <Pauses> Well no. Not exactly. He’s too worldly and mature for Eva.

PEP: Hmm, something stinks in here, don’t you think, Eva?

EVA: You mean, Daph, that Ian is “too worldly” for me, yet I bet in your mind that he’s just “worldly enough” for you.  And he happens to be just about your age. How convenient …

DAPHNE: <gasps>

PEP: <snorts and giggles>

INTERVIEWER: That’s all the time we have today. Thank you Knox sisters for your insights. Most enlightening. <grin>

***

Kelly Lane lives on a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to her work as editor and “slush pile reader” for a prominent literary agent, she has penned as a copywriter, journalist, and worked as a business writer, editor, and public relations consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Set on an olive plantation in Southern Georgia, ONE FOOT IN THE GROVE, COLD PRESSED MURDER, and DIPPED TO DEATH are the three books in Kelly Lane’s OLIVE GROVE MYSTERY series published by Berkley Prime Crime. Each book includes original recipes inspired by dishes in the story.

 Visit Kelly Lane:

Twitter: @KellyLaneWrites

Facebook: fb.me/KellyLaneWrites

Instagram: @kellylanewrites

KellyLaneWrites.com

 

New Title: Plum Tea Crazy By Laura Childs

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9780451489609ABOUT PLUM TEA CRAZY

Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

ABOUT LAURA CHILDS

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show…. More about Laura Childs

 

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Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day

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Book Review – Every Dog Has His Day

By Jenn McKinlay

A Bluff Point Romance #3

A Jove Book

Jan. 2, 2018

Paperback

$7.99 US

Netgalley request

 

An orange tabby kitten stuck on a neighbor’s porch roof brings together a local brewer and a single mom with two adorable daughters in Jenn McKinlay’s “Every Dog Has His Day.”

Zach is not one to commit to a relationship, but fate loves to deliver surprises.  Zach and his dog, Rufus, sleep over Jessie’s house during a snowstorm in order to make sure she, Maddie and Gracie are okay. Soon, he realizes that he wants to be more involved in their lives. That he’s fallen in love with Jessie and the girls and her house feels like a real home. With that realization comes his inner need to distance her from other men. He’s never felt that way about any woman and perhaps it’s time for him to settle down.

For Jessie, being part of a caring group of friends is not something she’s accustomed to. Her life revolves around her daughters. She’s a wonderful mother. Their father is a different story. He has nothing to do with them and is off in some other country having the time of his life.

Here is a mom always trying to do right for her kids, but she’s also a woman attracted to Zach. Soon their equal attraction can’t be denied. They dive into a relationship, careful to not be found together in bed. Which isn’t easy when the kids are in the same house. They are also being coached, encouraged, and cheered on by Zach’s brew crew. This is one close and very open family when it comes to saying how they feel.

There is a conflict and that’s Jessie’s former father-in-law who is determined to play a major role in their girls’ lives.

What I loved about the book…That a bachelor who was raised with sisters cared to make a difference in the lives of the girls. They needed a male role model and chose Zach from the very beginning. Zach also chose them. He had a lot of love and patience. Even though intimacy with Jessie played a major role, it was more than just a one-night stand for Zach. It was Jessie who found it difficult to accept this was a lasting love.

This fast and fun read is on my A list. Plenty happening here. Adorable scenes, cheeky characters, and it has you believing that friends can be family.

Jenn is one busy author. She writes the Bluff Point Romantic Comedy series (Every Dog Has His Day #3), Library Lover’s Mysteries (Death in the Stacks #8), Cupcake Mysteries (Wedding Cake Crumble #10), London Hat Shop Mysteries (Assault and Beret #5), Good Buy Girls Mysteries writing as Josie Belle (All Sales Final #5 – A review of  Marked Down for Murder is here) and Decoupage Mysteries, writing as Lucy Lawrence (Sealed with a Kill #3).

Four curious kitties out of five

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

February 25, 2018

Denise Fleischer

New Title – The Sometimes Sisters By Carolyn Brown

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Carolyn Brown
THE SOMETIMES SISTERS
 RELEASE DATE: February 27, 2018

A bittersweet inheritance reunites three estranged sisters in a novel of family, trust, and forgiveness from New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown.

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.

Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…

To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.

 

author-carolyn-brownNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown was born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma. These days she and her husband make their home in Davis, Oklahoma, a small town of less than three thousand people where everyone knows everyone, knows what they are doing and with whom, and read the weekly newspaper to see who got caught.

A plaque hangs on her office wall that says I know the voices are not real but they have such great ideas. That is her motto and muse as she goes through the days with quirky characters in her head, telling their stories, one by one, and loving her job.

She has been married almost half a century to a retired English teacher that she calls Mr. B and he does not read her books before they are published because she cannot afford a divorce. They have three grown children and enough grandchildren to keep them busy and young.

When Carolyn is not writing she likes to sit in the back yard and watch the two tom cats protect the yard from all kinds of wicked varmints like crickets, other cats, spiders and blue jays.

—in cooperation with Rockstarlit

Book Review – The Secret, Book & Scone Society By Ellery Adams

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Book Review

The Secret, Book & Scone Society

By Ellery Adams

Book 1  in a new mystery series

Kensington Publishing

$25.00

Oct. 31, 2017

Hardcover

Setting: Miracle Springs, North Carolina

 

A life changing accident altered Nora Pennington’s life. She went from being a married librarian to a woman who feels flawed by her physical scars.

A chance meeting with a stranger at a nearby park might be the last comforting moment the man experiences. Shortly after, his life ends on the railroad tracks. The tragedy stuns Nora and she is determined to form an alliance of women to help solve what she believes is murder.

Nora is the owner of Miracles Books. As a bibliotherapist, she learns what troubles a person and suggests a book to help them best understand and cope with their situation. The other women compliment Nora’s natural gift with their own skills and knowledge. Hester owns the Gingerbread House, Estella a salon and spa, and June works at the local thermal pool. Together, they make up the Secret, Book and Scone Society. They are real women with real issues.

Having spoken with Neil Parrish, the man who died on the tracks, Nora knew that he came to Miracle Springs ahead of his partners to resolve issues before they reoccur. She informs the sheriff that she knew he was a troubled soul but didn’t think he ended his own life. The sheriff believed differently.

Not accepting that belief, the women begin an investigation of their own. They focus on Pine Ridge Properties and learn more about his involvement in the firm and their current project and that’s when things get interesting. Through internet research and going through the motions of being a prospective new homeowner, they are able to gather the facts. Though they place themselves in great danger as its impossible to tell who killed Neil.

I chose to review this book because the cover drew me in. It’s dark and mysterious and written by Ellery Adams. And while it is impossible to read every novel written by a cozy author, she was on top of my TBR list. It is a true challenge to go beyond introducing characters and developing a storyline to actually dig deeper to allow the internal conflicts and past experiences to surface. Ellery did a great job in this new series revealing past situations and emotional wounds. The women knew they had to share the truth about their lives before they could truly be friends.  As for Neil, I think he reached out to another soul because he knew what was going on, what he was part of, was wrong. He needed help. We meet people for a reason.

Five new houses out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

February 25, 2018

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog Post: Old Sins by Miranda James

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Claws for Concern By Miranda James, part of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries, hardcover, Feb. 20, 2018, 288 pages.

I don’t really know where my nearly lifelong interest in history started. I do remember that, when I got my first library card at the age of eight, the first book I checked out was a juvenile biography of Abraham Lincoln. I went on to read many, many more of those juvenile biographies, and then I moved on to Greek and Roman mythology. Later on, as a teenager, I began reading historical fiction of various flavors – everything from historical romances to romantic suspense and straight historical fiction. If it was set in the past – and particularly if it was set in England – I would give it a try. In college, I majored in history and even went on to get both a master’s degree and a Ph.D., emphasis on medieval history.

I think one of the main reasons I’m so fascinated by history is knowing that there are connections from the past to the present. Some are more clear-cut than others, but the connections are always there. There are connections on a grand scale as well as connections on a more intimate, definitely personal scale, like tracing one’s ancestors to see from whence you came.

These same connections are, for me, what makes a mystery plot interesting. What actions in the past are connected to events in the present? Did one event, an action by a single person, set the course that ended in a murder? Or perhaps several murders?

These are the questions at the root of every story in the “Cat in the Stacks” series. In the latest book, Claws for Concern, those actions lie twenty years in the past. Four people, two adults and two children, were killed on a farm. The murderer was never brought to justice. Will Charlie and Diesel be able to identify the killer after all these years?